Pictures books are some of the earliest reading experiences for many children. We love how they introduce kids to storytelling and provide a rich multi-sensory experience perfect for reading aloud. The picture books we selected for our Best Books for Kids of 2017 list include a new version of Humpty Dumpty, a Langston Hughes picture book, and a Mixtec-inspired story. Have other picture books you love? Let us know in the comment section below.
The definition of children's picture book was greatly expanded when Brian Selznick won the 2008 Caldecott Medal for picture book illustration for his book The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The 525-page middle-grade novel told the story not only in words but in a series of sequential illustrations. All told, the book contains more than 280 pages interspersed throughout the book in sequences of multiple pages.
These kids stories emphasize basic developmental and emotional concepts such as sharing, compromise, and bedtime. "The Land of Words" series is an ongoing collection of alphabet stories which tackle moral lessons. "Don't Judge a Book" and "Gnarble's World" (a rich web of content with twelve interconnected stories) help introduce and sharpen deductive reasoning skills.
When Trixie’s stuffed bunny gets left behind at the laundromat, missing-plaything panic ensues. The chaos is further heightened when Trixie, who cannot yet talk, attempts to communicate her despair with a series of meltdowns. Outrageously funny and replete with Mo Willems’s singular style of illustration, this must-own resonates with kids and parents alike.
Five sheep driving a jeep? Only in this classic tale by Nancy Shaw Seussian. Not only are the sheep hilarious and driving wild, but the story is rhythmical and rhyming, making it very easy to read and follow. Sharing a laugh will be the highlight of the day when you read this story to your little ones. Over the hill, through a mud puddle, and forgetting to steer, all go together to make this story one that will be enjoyed many times over. If you are looking for a story that is fun, silly, and entertaining, this may be the one for you.
Jon J. Muth tells the tale of three children who meet their new neighbor, a Panda bear named Stillwater. As they listen to the stories told by Stillwater, the kids learn to look at the world in new ways. This introduction to Zen is good to use as a group story to read aloud, or as a bedtime story between you and your child. Throughout this children’s book, an introduction to Buddhism is carefully integrated. Simple illustrations make it easy to follow. Written for ages five and up, it is entertaining and a tale that many parents may enjoy sharing with their children.
There are several subgenres among picture books, including alphabet books, concept books, counting books, early readers, calendar books, nursery rhymes, and toy books. Board books - picture books published on a hard cardboard - are often intended for small children to use and play with; cardboard is used for the cover as well as the pages, and is more durable than paper. Another category is movable books, such as pop-up books, which employ paper engineering to make parts of the page pop up or stand up when pages are opened. The Wheels on the Bus, by Paul O. Zelinsky, is one example of a bestseller pop-up picture book.
In 1931, Jean de Brunhoff's first Babar book, The Story Of Babar was published in France, followed by The Travels of Babar then Babar The King. In 1930, Marjorie Flack authored and illustrated Angus and the Ducks, followed in 1931 by Angus And The Cats, then in 1932, Angus Lost. Flack authored another book in 1933, The Story about Ping, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. The Elson Basic Reader was published in 1930 and introduced the public to Dick and Jane. In 1930 The Little Engine That Could was published, illustrated by Lois Lenski. In 1954 it was illustrated anew by George and Doris Hauman. It spawned an entire line of books and related paraphernalia and coined the refrain "I think I can! I think I can!". In 1936, Munro Leaf's The Story of Ferdinand was published, illustrated by Robert Lawson. Ferdinand was the first picture book to crossover into pop culture. Walt Disney produced an animated feature film along with corresponding merchandising materials. In 1938 to Dorothy Lathrop was awarded the first Caldecott Medal for her illustrations in Animals of the Bible, written by Helen Dean Fish. Thomas Handforth won the second Caldecott Medal in 1939, for Mei Li, which he also wrote. Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline was published in 1939 and was selected as a Caldecott Medal runner-up, today known as a Caldecott Honor book.
One of the most beloved books for boys and girls is the story of Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne- his steam shovel. Mary Anne is an old steam shovel, and isn’t as shiny and pretty as some of the newer models are. Mike Mulligan still uses her though, and insists that she can do just as good a job as those more modern models can. When he insists on using her in Popperville, Mike and Mary Anne are put to the test, with the entire town watching. An inspiring story that is fun to share with little ones, this one is a true classic.
Dr. Seuss is as silly as ever with this classic that will have you and your children enjoying reading and rhyming more than ever. From flying a kite in bed, to walking around with ten cats on your head to counting and seeing new kinds of fish and creatures, you will not be disappointed. One of the most exciting things about reading a Dr. Seuss book is the never ending temptation to read it as fast as you can. With this story, you will have the rhythm and rhyme rolling off your tongue as you share it with your children. Before long they will be reading it with you. This is an easy to read book with words that are simple, and it will lead the way to reading aloud.
L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900, and Baum created a number of other successful Oz-oriented books in the period from 1904 to 1920. Frank Baum wanted to create a modern-day fairy tale since he loved fairy tales as a child. In 1910, American illustrator and author Rose O'Neill's first children’s book was published, The Kewpies and Dottie Darling. More books in the Kewpie series followed: The Kewpies Their Book in 1912 and The Kewpie Primer 1916. In 1918, Johnny Gruelle wrote and illustrated Raggedy Ann and in 1920 followed up with Raggedy Andy Stories. Other Gruelle books included Beloved Belinda, Eddie Elephant, and Friendly Fairies.
This story brings to life part of the adult world to children who want to know what people do all day. There are examples of jobs and a connection made from one person to another. It gives the reader the sense that we are all connected, and the each profession is not only important to itself, but is dependent on and supportive of the other jobs out there. Reading it together may offer windows of opportunities to discuss with even the youngest children the importance of work, money, and being helpful to others. Richard Scarry has a way with connecting pictures and stories to keep the interest and draw the reader back again
Because of the success of The Cat In The Hat an independent publishing company was formed, called Beginner Books. The second book in the series was nearly as popular, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, published in 1958. Other books in the series were Sam and the Firefly (1958), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), Are You My Mother? (1960), Go, Dog. Go! (1961), Hop on Pop (1963), and Fox in Socks (1965). Creators in the Beginner Book series were Stan and Jan Berenstain, P. D. Eastman, Roy McKie, and Helen Palmer Geisel (Seuss' wife). The Beginner Books dominated the children's picture book market of the 1960s.
Originally published in Germany, this thought-provoking picture book consists of a series of encounters between a king and various people, objects, and intangible forces, which offer profoundly revealing insights on the nature and limitations of power. "I don't believe in ghosts," the king tells a spirit in one scene. "I don't believe in kings" is the pointed response.
P.D. Eastman has used one of the favorite animals of all time to create a story that is fun, engaging, and fast paced. Dogs, dogs everywhere, and ending in a dog party in a tree. Reading this with your children, and watching the ease with which they can read it on their own, will both be something to enjoy. Dog lover or not, this is one tale that will bring you back for more when you want to share a story that will be silly and entertaining with your children. Colorful, and enjoyable for all, this is one fun story to share.
This is a great bedtime story that will help children as they prepare to go to sleep. Animals of all kinds are saying goodnight to their little ones, and bed time is pleasant through the world. The verse is rhyming and flows easily off the tongue, and the pictures are portraying bedtime rituals that will be familiar to you and your children. From taking a bath to brushing teeth to giving a kiss and a hug, all the parents and children offer something that you will cherish. It is one of the best bedtime stories to help little ones settle easily for the night.